The Contender Asia Finale


Since everyone has been chomping at the bit, I figure there’s no reason to keep you waiting.

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If you don’t want to watch the finale in the small window, you can watch it here. Big thanks to Darknest for the rip and upload.

I’d first like to say Hat’s off the folks behind the show and to all the Contenders, what a great first season. My first post on the Contender Asia was in November 2006, It was my 9th post on It seems like ages ago.

I wrote this post about The Contender for a Thai paper back in March of ’07. The main question that I raised in the article is whether or not the Contender Asia would propel Muay Thai onto the world stage? Would it be enough to get mainstream Thailand interested in Muay Thai?

It’s a bit early, but I would have to say yes. I have friends in Bangkok who have little or no interest in Muay Thai, emailing me to tell me they just caught the finale on TV. My aunt (who’s pretty old) know who Yodsaenklai is…

I was lucky enough to find out about the show when I was training at Ingram gym in Bangkok. It’s a bit of an understatement to say I was looking forward to this show. I think this has been one of the best things to happened to our art to our sport in a long while. Yes the dubbing and reality show editing can be a bit much at times, but I think it’s been enormously successful at introducing and making Muay Thai accessible to a general audience.

I’m excited at the prospects that there will be a second season… but there never quite the same as the first season.

On a side note, something stuck me as strange… did Fairtex have a bit of a falling out with the Contender Asia? It wouldn’t surprise me after the whole Naruepol, Yodsanklai showdown. It’s strange that throughout the show we were bombarded with their branding,  gloves, shorts, the ring etc. only to be replaced by paypal and skype? Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but the sponsors for this final episode appeared to be pulled together last minute… I wanted to see how they would handle the camp name during the introductions and sure enough everyone was careful even the commentators not to drop the F bomb.

Anyways, Zach I owe you an apology. In my earlier posts I had all but written you off. I think at one point I might have called you Muay Thai fodder, for that I am a dipshit. You definitely represented… It must have been great fighting in front of a packed home crowd. I’m not really sure what was going on with Zidov… I thought for sure he was going to come out swinging. I think Zach showed far more ability and experience then his fight record would lead you to believe.

I’m still not sure about Raffik, I don’t know if he’s naturally that cocky or if it’s just a nervous reaction? His fight stance and rhythm seemed more like a kick boxer then a Nak Muay. Lot’s of hopping around… he seemed like he was over excited. I think Dhzabar fought a good fight. I think he was more scrappy then usual, but I think that was more to do with Raffik then anything.

JWP and Yod… great final, I would have been happy for either one of them to win. I’m glad Yod got some prize money for his mom. It’ been a very long road for him I’m sure. As for JWP… through out the show, he kept saying he wanted to be remembered as one of the all time greats. Personally I think he already achieved that before the show.

I was actually a bit surprised by the fight; I had actually expected Yod, to work a lot more. Normally he comes out and sets the pace, but I think JWP knew he couldn’t let that happen. I think he had to do whatever was necessary to keep Yod from dictating the pace.

Anyway, I’ll be trying to do some interviews with some of The Contenders in the following weeks. If any of you train with or know any of the Contenders drop me a line.

I want to thank all of you who’ve sent me clips, links and have participated and been part of MMT these past several months. Big Props to Spydaman for helping keep the comments spoiler free. We’re a small but strong community, thanks for being apart of it.



About Author

I started My Muay Thai back in 2006... I was tired of reading about MMA, and wanted somewhere I could watch real muay thai fights, be inspired and connect with others who love muay thai as much as I do... I currently live in London... when I'm not geeking out over muay thai you can find me bombing around London on my scrambler, ferreting out the latest street food gems.


  1. here’s a bunch of links from TCA unofficial/fan site:
    Contender Finale:
    Superfight 1
    Zidov Dominik vs Kim Khan Zaki.avi 222mb
    Superfight 2
    Rafik Bakkouri vs Dzhabar Askerov.avi 216mb
    Contender Asia Finale?
    Yodsaenklai vs John Wayne Parr.avi 231mb

  2. brilliant final episode. All three were great fights. Although I think that Zidov wasn’t really trying against Zach at all. Also, how come Soren’s fight isn’t in it? Did it happen before?

  3. To be honest, I don’t think it looked like Zidov tried in any of his fights, other than getting back up again. He eats strikes and doesn’t answer back. I haven’t seen any of his other fights outside of TCA, but he doesn’t seem to be nearly aggressive enough.

  4. I don’t know why Soren vs. Sean was not aired. It IS up on YouTube for viewing though. It was a pretty decent fight as well. Maybe it was time issues with the network?
    Anyone else extremely bothered by Zidov’s posture; naturally makes him 1-step behind

  5. I notice Zidovs strange posture in the first Zach Fight and he is odd. But what a Finale Jwp tried so hard but Yod was a Rock. And Dzhabar won against Rafik, it looked like rafik was a bit outclassed. Oh yeah and what an elbow from Zach to rock Zidov, Naaaiiiiice.

  6. I found that this finale was pretty anti-climatic. The quality of the episodes was really good, but this finale was kind of brutal to watch at times…with the announcers calling out metaphors and just the way it was all set up, lame ending.

  7. I was hoping JWP would bounce back after the knockdown in the first round, but I really wasn’t surprised that Yod dominated him the way he did. Both fighters were extremely impressive!

    I ended up putting the announcers on mute during the first round of the JWP/Yod fight because they were so impossibly annoying. Are those guys the normal announcers for international fights?

  8. i still do not understand why did jabbar fought for the Europe Title when he is representing UAE?

    They should have broacast the Intercontinental Fight btween Soren/Sean and not a grudge match btween ZAch/Zidov.

    Zidov is not in d state of mind to concentrate this fight as the media was bitching about him pregnating a S’pore celebrity.

  9. Dzhabar showed he is a good fighter, but he faded away in the end. He could have beaten Raffik much more convincingly if he was in shape.

    Nice elbow from Zach!

  10. i really enjoyed the finale…the accouncer was really irritating but there were a lot of good fights… i do wish the sean soren fight had been on the finale. what a great fight soren and sean kept getting into little elbow pissing matches! that’s MT!

    Yod is Yod i guess…the phenom, what can you say?…he does everything just about perfect? jwp is still a badass though and kept after him the whole time.

    Zidov looked like he had other things on his mind/didn’t get enough sleep the night before and it was very cool to see the Zach we all thought we’d see.

    Always a pleasure to see Raffik beaten.

    bring on season 2!

  11. nopstar didt u watch that fight that you posted of zach? how could you think he sucks….

    and lol at JWP and his straight punch combination rushes. that was amusing.

  12. I’m sad, JWP punches didn’t seem as powerful as they use to be. Maybe it could have been due to being rocked early in the 1st. But mad probs to him, he has SOOOO MUCH heart, I respect JWP more than ever and I was bummed that he lost, but both fighters deserved it equally. I wish JWP the best and a congrat to Yod and his win. JWP will be a legend!

  13. Big props to JWP. He’s 32 years old and is still tough and fights like a tiger. Yod beat him once and is getting better, stronger, more self-confident. The outcome between these two was expected. At the end Yod almost KO’ed him. Actually JWP was saved by the bell twice.

    Great finale. Great show. And no Fairtex signs in the finale was weird yeah. Skype? Maybe they offered more money, at the end it’s all about da moniee.

    I wonder how much money Yod will get from that award. There’s also a camp behind it, the state wants “their” share. He’ll get probably about 70.000$ out of it… any thoughts?

  14. I think those str8 punches might have been in JWP’s plan….and honestly…those str8 punches that everyone is laughing at might have been the only time Yod was actually in trouble and got caught wit a couple time. I think the whole idea was to swarm Yod with quick succession punches and hope for the best. It woulda worked if Yod was backin str8 up but Yod was too smart and instead moved in circles.

    Darknest, I could never thank u enough, bro.

  15. I thought Zach’s fight was really nice looking. It was a good example of a taller fighter against a shorter fighter. Zach kept Zidov out of his range the entire time. As stated above Zidov didn’t really do that much.

    The JWP Yod fight was okay. I wonder if JWP had mixed up some of those big straight punch combinations if he would have hit Yod. JWP threw several big six plus punch combinations. That guy has a heart the size of a bank vault.

    I thought the announcers were hilarious by the way. Some of my favorite lines were

    “Here comes the big Kaboosh!”
    “He’s getting more hits than google!”

    Will the next season have the same fighters? Are they moving down in weight class?

    matt lucas

  16. Hey Matt, If the producers follow the same format as for the prior “Contender” seasons (the american version), the fighters will be different each season. Judging by the popularity of the show I wouldn’t be surprised to see a season 3 and 4 neither.
    I didn’t kno that height advantage between the two fighters was that great….I will watch the fight again.
    Zach was better than Zidov period, anyone could tell from the first round of their first bout (pre shoulder injury). Zidov is one tough fighter though, he definitely has a hard chin, maybe a change of camp might do him some good.

  17. oh yeah… what’s his name shiavello? effing awful, there were a couple of times I wanted to throw it on mute.


    The next season needs to be more evenly matched. JWP fought a brave fight but I had no doubts of the outcome.

  18. Personally, I liked the announcer. I thought he was hilarious.
    zach has a great write up on the finale on his blog too. i’m glad his shoulders held up and he was able to put on a out fighting clinic on zidov.

  19. Yeah, I think the announcer was trying to be funny, and boy did he succeed! Did you get a load of ‘he’s taking more shots than an alchoholic!’

  20. I’ll echo the annoyance with the play-by-play man. More, uh, hyperbolic than a geometry class.

    The color guy was alright, though. Would have been happier had they both shut up and Stefan called the whole thing.

    Good on Zach showing up to vindicate his early departure from the show. I also assumed he was a lightweight, but Zidov’s uncharacteristic-seeming passivity and baby-daddy problems notwithstanding, he won as decisively as Yod did.

    I don’t follow Muay Thai, but, man, Yod looks scary. How does a 22-year-old amass a 200+ fight record? That’s like…3 fights a month starting from the age of 16. No wonder the Thais still set the bar in their sport…

  21. Yod really is the man, and you’re so right, she is so scary. His face in the ring… he’s a killing machine.
    His plan is to fight in K-1 Max, can’t wait to see that happen.

  22. Pingback: « The Contender Asia Finale : My Muay Thai | File Search Engine Ispey

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